Advantages great high speed internet
Disadvantages completely pants customer service
|Customer service quality|
|Customer service waiting times|
|Tariffs & Charges|
|Accuracy of Charges|
|Range of services (call waiting, etc)|
|Value for money|
Ouch - this is really going to hurt a lot!The op I am about to write is quite possibly one of the most painful things I am ever going to write, not in a physical sense, but more in line of a spiritual an mental one. Some of you may liken this to the film “Jerry Maguire”, i.e the rantings of a an employee who has become tired and grown wary of the way his employer has treated it’s customers. Maybe it is inspired by the fact of the ever looming 30th birthday (aargh! crisis! LOL!). More possibly realistic however is the fact that I am one of a few people who actually give a sh*t about the way my company treats it’s customers.
Yes – I do work for Telewest.And yes, I do actually give a damn about it!
I have read several reviews on Ciao! regarding Telewest. Some good, most of them bad. To be perfectly blunt, for those of you who have written anything negative about the service/customer service you have received from Telewest YOU ARE DEAD RIGHT! For those of you who don’t know, Telewest Broadband (as it is now known) is a provider of Digital TV, telephone & internet. I have worked for them for very nearly 6 years (yes, that is 6 YEARS!) so I think I am in a pretty good position to pass comment, on what was once a good company to work for, but more importantly for you the consumer, a company that you are happy to do business with and receive a good service from.The majority of issues that you, the consumer, have with Telewest as a company fall into two main categories, Customer Service and Fault Repair. These are the two I’m going to discuss, having worked in both departments, as the majority of issues customers have seem to create themselves from these two categories.
CUSTOMER SERVICE/BILLINGWhere do you start? To be blunt, it is a shambles. How many of you faithful subscribers out there have had to sit and wait in a queue for 10, 20, 30 minutes or more waiting in vain for an operator to actually answer your call? This is of course after trawling through the “ please press option 432 “ to have your enquiry dealt with? Then you get passed to an entirely department!!! How annoying is that? If it is any consolation it is just as annoying for the operator who finally ends up with that particularly disgruntled customer (and quite rightly so for the customer I will add) who gets it in the neck from the customer. Why does this happen you may ask yourself? Simple. Poor information from poorly trained staff. Plain and simple. The training and recruitment process is, at best, poor. Too many staff are employed in an attempt to get “bums on seats”. Virtually anyone (and I do mean anyone) could get a job working for this company. Problem is that so many staff leave for the simple fact that they cant hack the job. They think it’s going to be a doddle. And so the recruitment starts again, a never ending vicious circle. In the meantime the poor customers are treated to a shoddy service by incompetent staff who really shouldn’t be there, or don’t care, or both. Maybe if a bit more emphasis went into the whole recruitment/training process then the customer service side would be a whole better. Having contacted several different call centres myself in my life, banks, shopping etc, it seems that Telewest leaves a lot to be desired in terms of customer service. Training is all it boils down to. But it’s not all the general staff who are to blame. Most of the manager I have ever worked with in the many years I have been here cannot even do the job that their staff actually do, so how the hell can they assist and coach staff to improve their customer service skills? Some of the training officer themselves leave a lot to be desired and that’s being polite. The end result? YOU, THE CUSTOMER, getting fed up and going elsewhere with your business.
Oh my god! Where the hell would you start with this one? Any of you who have had a service from Telewest at any point in your life will have had a fault. For those who haven’t, all I can say is YOU LUCKY B*STADS! The cable network has to be one of the most flawed systems ever in existence. This is not however unique to Telewest. Ask the vast majority of NTL customers, or any other cable company, and you will hear the same response. The whole fact of the matter is that it is VERY flawed. I can say this for the very simple fact that having had SKY/BT in the past NOT ONCE did I ever have to call them up to report a fault of any nature. Was I just lucky? Hardly. If I had £1 for every customer I have ever spoken to who has said to me “ I never had this problem with SKY/BT” then I really would be a very rich man. So why do you all have to suffer with these faults? Again, a very simple explanation. Not enough research. The technology was not “future proof”, there was no forward planning. The digital TV service was launched at a time when the company was so far behind SKY it had to launch the service for fear of being left even further behind of it’s main rival. This is the reason that so many of you suffered when you subscribed to the much-hyped Cable digital TV service when it was launched over 2 years ago. Ok, it is a lot better now, I’ll not argue that point. Not every service is totally 100% flawless. If it was, we would have no job to do. But really, did the paying public have to endure such a shoddy service? No wonder customers made their own decision and voted with their feet and went elsewhere. I am a customer like everybody else. I am also a human being, and refuse to put up with poor, poor service. Why should you? And don’t even attempt to request a technician to call out. If your lucky it will be a day or two. The norm and harsh reality is that anything between 5-7 days is much more appropriate.
Sour grapes I hear you shout! Well, actually, no it’s not. Telewest has had a lot of bad press over recent months. Redundancies announced, a dramatically fallen share price. Most companies go through that at some stage of their business, it is not unusual. Look at NTL, they had to recently restructure their finances/debt to avoid “going under”. ITV Digital unfortunately did not have that luxury and went into liquidation. Before them it was ON-Digital. Anybody see a pattern here? Telewest’s biggest hurdle to overcome is to vastly improve not only its’ product but it’s customer service. Ask any successful company one of their “keys to success” and they will give you one answer – good customer service. Why? Good service = loyal customers = more customers = better profits. It’s not a difficult equation to understand. I said at the beginning of this op that I do give a damn, and I do. I actually enjoy working for this company. It does actually do a great many things. The Broadband Internet service is, on the whole, excellent, and has won many awards across the board. Well done! One good product does not make a good company however. I have the pleasure of working with some of the most intelligent and customer-focused staff I have ever met, only too willing to help not just customers but also colleagues. Unfortunately there are many poor staff who just don’t care, managers who just don’t know, and products that are not 100% effective. Maybe someone will take note of my plea, somewhere high up in the heavens. Maybe, and only maybe, then all of the loyal customers will finally get the type of service that you not only deserve but should expect……until that time, I shall continue to fight the good fight and make sure that the customers I deal with do get the kind of service that I would expect.
Paul © 2002-07-04
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